Thought for the Day by Peter Hemming (St Chad’s)
Readings Deuteronomy 6: Ephesians 2:1-10.
From the NT reading – ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.’
What’s all this about?
I can fix most things myself: I am pretty good at doing things. Can’t I fix my relationship with God myself? If I work hard enough at doing what God asks of me, isn’t that OK? After all, Eph 2:10 reminds us that ‘we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’.
Good works are a part of our vocation… but they are just a part.
There seem to be three key words here: Grace, Saved and Faith.
Grace. It may be OK and even right to do what God asks of me, but that just isn’t ‘enough’. We all need that element of God’s initiative, Grace: [God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.] It cost Jesus a lot, like everything!
Saved. There’s a word that doesn’t get a lot of approval these days. What am I saved from? Or what am I saved for? Maybe I’m saved from the worst excesses of the world’s influence on me and others – and for a ministry of telling others about our loving God/ Jesus/ the Holy Spirit.
Faith. Though I knew nothing about him, apart from his name from history lessons, before doing my Reader training some time ago, Anselm, whom the Church remembers today, is possibly best remembered for saying: “I believe in order that I may understand.” (not: understand in order to believe.)
[You can find other Anselm quotes here.]
Faith is the critical element of our lives. We believe first – and then go on to do or understand God’s work.
We understand life in the light of what we believe.
Please forgive me for a very personal view now. For those of you who know what has happened to me this year with a deteriorating tremor, a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, having to give up driving, and a pancreatic cancer, I have to say that I am grateful for my faith in the caring purposes of a Loving Heavenly Father, without which I’d be all at sea. To know that ‘because of what God has done in Jesus’, or because of what Jesus did in dying for us, I can have confidence in His loving purposes for me:
that, for me, is everything!
There’s a chorus that I remember from my youth – ‘I know who holds the future, and He’ll guide me with His hand; with God things don’t just happen, everything by Him is planned. So, as I face tomorrow, with its problems large and small; I’ll trust the God of miracles, give to Him my all’.
So now I can say: ‘By grace I have been saved through faith’. I can have confidence in my future.
I just have to trust.
Will you trust our loving heavenly father too?